Thursday, July 29, 2010

Short Movie Reviews

The Gore Gore Girls by Herschel Gordon Lewis is an oddity. The volume of ridiculous violence is high, the skill and attractiveness of most of the strippers is low. The acting is fair to poor, but the script is remarkably good, considering. For all its faults (and it has a lot of them) this is one of those low budget films that really tries. Lewis is not just churning out a piece of crap with a lot of gore and titties. Yes, gore and titties are the big selling points, but many aspects of the production far exceed the constraints of the low-B movie at the time.

Verdict: Tough call. You need to want to watch it, perhaps because it is a "classic."

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has a ton of stars. Nicholson stars as a prison inmate moved to an insane asylum. He begins to wage war against the stagnation of the other patients and the inflexibility of the staff. This film is in many ways the one that gives Nicholson his reputation for always playing nuts, but here he is more on point than in some lesser films. This is also the first film to feature Whiteplume residence favorite Brad Dourif as Billy Bibbit, a troubled young man with self-injurious tendencies brought on by his uncomfortable relationship with women.

Verdict: Excellent. See it.

The Last Detail has Jack Nicholson as a career Navy man tasked to transport a young Randy Quaid to the Brigg in Portsmouth for attempting to steal $40 from the commander's wife's favorite charity. His sentence is eight years and a dishonorable discharge. "Bad Ass" (Nicholson) and his partner "Mule" begin to feel sorry for their young charge and decide to show him a good time. This is a good mix of comedy and tragedy. Nicholson is playing Nicholson, but this comes in the middle of a very good time for his career, almost dead between Easy Rider and The Shining.

Verdict: Very good film.

Inglorious Basterds is an espionage film. Sure, it looks like a gross-out fest, particularly with the inclusion of Eli Roth, but to be fair, the "Basterds" hardly appear in the film at all. To put it in another WWII context, think of it as The Great Escape. A large cast of characters with a lot going on, yet all have a similar goal. As Tenebrous Kate put it some time ago, this is a "talky film." It is in German, French, Italian, and has a smattering of English. It is far from the blood and guts extravaganza you were sold in the trailers, but is a very worthwhile watch. It is a smart film where the action is just icing on the cake. (Blu-Ray)

Verdict: Not what I expected, but very well done.

Female Vampire is an ode to a naked Lina Romay. Lina has four costumes in this film; cape, belt and thigh-high boots; macrame sundress with a 10% opacity; black dress with translucent breast coverage; her birthday suit. The story is a little non-existent. We have a vampire that attacks via oral sex, a weirdo who wants to become a vampire (or just to die, maybe), and a coroner whose first diagnosis is "vampire attack." If you can find the deep meaning in this one, I am more than willing to listen. (DVD)

Verdict: If you need yet another avenue to see Lina Romay naked, this is your film.

Rent - I gotta say, I did not get into this. It has some of my favorite people in it, and features Rosario Dawson as a junkie stripper. You'd think that would be enough, wouldn't you? Rent is fairly preachy, and seems to want to be Hair. The songs are like when Family Guy makes fun of Randy Newman. There's a lot of "I'm a recovering herione addict and I have HIV" songs, as well as a jaunty little number about a transvestite who kills a dog for a thousand dollars. Everyone he's singing to loves it. I'd have thrown him the fuck out my squatted crib. I did watch the five minutes where Sarah Silverman appears, and it was hardly worth the effort. (DVD)

Verdict: A little self-indulgent, and a decade late.

A Virgin Among the Living Dead by Jess Franco (aka Christine, Princess of Eroticism or Une Vierge Chez Les Morts Vivants) is proving to be one of my favorite films by the maestro. It is a haunting, trippy kind of vampire/zombie/ghoul/ghost movie. A young girl, Christine (Christina von Blanc), who has never known her family, goes to her ancestral home after the death of her father. In typical fashion, the locals are scared of the place and warn that "no one lives there." Put the accent on "lives" for the dramatic irony. She quickly discovers just how wacko her extended family is. This is shot nicely, and while the acting is fair, and the Foley work is poor, it could be far worse. It is kind of like a haunted house. You know something creepy is around the corner, but you still get a jolt from it. (DVD)

Verdict: Great for fans of creepy films.


Lazarus Lupin said...

The musical choices of Basterds was brave, bold and fun!

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

Darius Whiteplume said...

I thought "Cat People" worked really well. The music was one of the few things that really said "Quentin Tarantino" about the movie.

Nathan said...

I know some people who loved the play version of Rent back in the nineties. I saw the movie version about a year ago, and thought it was mostly just obnoxious. Are we supposed to, like, IDENTIFY with those self-absorbed lazy bastards? I don't remember Sarah Silverman in it, but the only character I remember liking was the accountant played by Mahondra from Wonderfalls.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I love Mahandra in everything, but especially Wonderfalls.

Sarah Silverman was the network executive that signed the film making lay-about to work for her tabloid show.

dfordoom said...

I have to admit that I likedFemale Vampire a lot. For me vampirism is always a metaphor for sex in some form or another and this movie took that to its logical extreme with a vampire consumed by her own obsession with sex.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I enjoyed Female Vampire as a visual, I could just never tell where it was going.

I agree, FfF is better than BfD. Blood was very parody like, but I'm not sure if that is what Morrissey was going for. I'll watch anything with Udo Kier.

dfordoom said...

I'll watch Udo Kier in just about anything as well.

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